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Princeton's Gerta Keller On Dino Demise
But Gerta Keller, 58, a professor in Princeton University's department of
geosciences, is part of a small group that is rattling the foundations.
And the theory she supports, which argues that the demise of the dinosaurs
was more complicated, has unleashed a small tempest of its own among
die-hard believers in the meteor theory, who are known as "impacters."
"My opponents take all this quite personally," she said.
Dr. Keller argues that in addition to a series of meteor impacts, the
extinction of the dinosaurs was preceded by an intensive period of
volcanic eruptions that altered the climate. While she concedes that an
asteroid or comet probably struck the Earth at the time the dinosaurs
became extinct, she sees this impact as the final event in a chain of
disasters. Most important, she is convinced that the massive crater in
Mexico, known as the Chicxulub, was not the final blow. She and her team
of geologists have placed that impact 300,000 years before the extinction.
The final impact, she says, occurred somewhere else.
"No one knows where," she said, "but the best guess is that it may have
been in what is now the Indian Ocean."